Saturday, December 13, 2014

Will Swim for Food: Am I Crazy?

Earlier in the Fall, I did a crazy thing.

I signed up for Will Swim for Food. This annual event raises money for local food banks.

The idea is that we swim around the Santa Clara Wharf in the dead of winter in water with a temp of anywhere from 47 to 57 ° F and then drink and eat and be merry afterwards. It's a bit like a polar bear dip but we swim a mile and we can wear wet suits. Also, if anyone donates $150 or more, you get a decoy duck to tow around in their honor. They can decorate the duck anyway they want.

I have managed to earn one decoy duck!
I had a friend paint it because my donor lives in Korea (Hi, Mom!) and getting her a duck and having her paint it in time would take too long. So here is Batty Duck, the Halloween Duck:

When I signed up for this event, the water temps were in the low 60s and they were talking about swimming in 53F which is cold, but I figured I could do it. Then, when it was too late to back out, someone mentioned that last year it was actually around 47F. Oh.

So, for a lot of the training, I have been scared to death. I once started to go hypothermic swimming around that pier and also they have sea lions that live there and bark at you as you round the pier and sometimes come out to swim with you and check you out and I am convince that some day one of them is going to bite me. Hence the fear.

However, on the day after Thanksgiving, I went down for an "acclimation swim" and as I was going around the pier being stalked by a sea lion, I had a thought: it's true I went hypothermic here once. But I survived. So that means I know I can do it, if the worst were to happen again.

Also, thanks to the crazy weather we've been having, the water temps have only been in the high 50s, not the high 40s, which has been a bit of a relief.

In the meantime, I bought some booties and I have been swimming with a thermal rash guard under my wet suit. The rash guard makes a big difference. Big. Difference.

The booties help, too. I don't like swimming in them but they do help so I will put up with them. I am not getting swim gloves though. Have to draw the line somewhere!

The swim was supposed to happen today. So why am I at home writing this instead?

No, I did not chicken out. It's all that stupid Storm of the Decade's fault! (I refuse to call it the Pineapple Express.) Not only is there major bacteria around the pier, but 10-11 foot swells too. I saw some webcam footage and it's totally crazy. Even if we wanted to swim, the lifeguards said: No.

So we've rescheduled until January. There is no date yet but we should be getting one soon. I just hope it's not the same day as my 10k that I'm doing!

I have been telling myself that the good news is that I will have more time to fundraise. I am hoping that the bad news isn't that it will be colder. I refuse to think about it, actually.

Anyway, it's for a good cause so if you want to donate, here is my fundraising page: 

 And if you want to sign up and swim with me, here is the page for the event:
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